Eelam National Liberation Front
In April 1984 M. Karunanidhi invited the leaders of the five leading Tamil militant groups, Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), for talks aimed at uniting the groups. K. Pathmanabha (EPRLF), V. Balakumaran (EROS) and Sri Sabaratnam (TELO) accepted the invitation but Velupillai Prabhakaran (LTTE) and Uma Maheswaran (PLOTE) did not.
Shortly afterward EPRLF, EROS and TELO formed the Eelam National Liberation Front. The inaugural meeting of the ENLF was held at the EPRLF's office in Madras (now Chennai) and Ramesh of the EPRLF was elected the secretary. After the meeting Pathmanabha, Balakumaran and Sri Sabaratnam issued a statement announcing the formation of the ENLF:
Realizing that unity among the liberation movements is essential to take forward the freedom struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam, the leaders of the Eelam Progressive Revolutionary Liberation Front, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization and Eelam Revolutionary Organization have decided to form a united front and name it Eelam National Liberation Front.
Although the ENLF members would work together to achieve their common aim they would each maintain their own distinct identity. Other major liberation groups i.e. LTTE and PLOTE, were invited to join the ENLF. The objectives of the ENLF were:
- Winning the independence for our motherland from the domination of the Sri Lanka.
- Pledge to work for the full independence of Tamil Eelam and decision to accept nothing less.
- Adopt armed struggle as our path to freedom and endeavour to unite all sections of our people.
- Building a socialist society in Tamil Eelam.
- Liberating our motherland from the shackles of American imperialism and neocolonialism.
The ENLF members agreed to coordinate armed activities against the Sri Lankan armed forces; unify propaganda conducted in foreign countries; and create a unified body to administer the funds collected from individuals and institutions.
LTTE joins ENLF
In early 1985 Prabhakaran changed his mind about the ENLF and decided to join. On 10 April 1985 senior members of the ENLF and LTTE met at the Hotel Presidency, Madras. Those attending the meeting were: LTTE – Prabhakaran, Rajanayagam and Anton Balasingham; EPRLF – Pathmanabha, Kulasegaran and Ramesh; EROS – Balakumaran and Muhilan; TELO – Sri Sabaratnam and Mathi. After the meeting a statement was issued:
The Eelam National Liberation Front and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have decided to work together to take forward the freedom struggle of the Tamil-speaking people of Eelam...The emergence of unity among these four freedom movements that have adopted the path of armed revolution is a significant event in the history of the freedom struggle of the Tamil people. This unity, a turning point in the freedom struggle of the Tamil people of Eelam, has helped the consolidation of the revolutionary forces and coordinates and strengthens the armed struggle. We expect the news about the unity among the armed movements would gladden and enthuse the people who are enduring army atrocities and hardships and intensify their determination and resolve to march on the path of freedom.
The objectives of the ENLF were revised to:
- Winning the freedom and sovereignty of our motherland from the oppressive rule of Sri Lanka.
- Not to accept any solution lesser than the establishment of an independent state with the right to self-determination.
- Adopting mass armed struggle (People's Struggle) as the mode of struggle.
- Taking forward the socialist revolution along with the freedom struggle and building a socialist society in our motherland.
- Delivering our nation from the clutches of global imperialism and neocolonialism and leading it on the path of nonalignment.
The ENLF members agreed to make joint political decisions and to coordinate military actions against the Sri Lankan armed forces.
The unity amongst the Tamil militant groups was widely welcomed by supporters of the Tamil independence movement.
Sabaratnam, T. "31 Unity Moves". Pirapaharan, Volume 2.